A life sentence for stealing a toolbox! How could that be?
|Michael Duplessis: Sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing a toolbox from Holy Rosary Church
Obviously a law that can send a man to prison for the rest of his life for stealing a cellphone charger, a battery and a toolbox is unjust and inhumane. In fact, Pope Francis has said that life sentences are essentially death sentences.
Surely, reasonable people can work together to repeal such a barbaric statute.
So why aren't Republicans and Democrats working together to do that? In fact there are dozens of unjust laws that could be repealed. As I wrote awhile back, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Claire McCaskill introduced a bill to stop the federal government from garnishing the Social Security checks of elderly student-loan defaulters. Who in Congress could oppose such a bill?
Unfortunately, our elected representatives at the state and national level are so caught up in political warfare that nothing gets done. And the mainstream press has become so obsessed with criticizing President Trump that it has abandoned its traditional role of advocating for justice.
Just today, in my local newspaper, Richard Cohen, a syndicated columnist, published an essay that was nothing more than warmed over criticism of President Trump. In case the public had forgotten, Cohen reminded us that Trump unfairly criticized Senator John McCain and the Hispanic judge who presided over the Trump University litigation. Isn't there something more timely and important that Cohen can write about?
Enough already. Republicans and Democrats should look for problems they can solve together, and the press should resume its traditional roll of publicizing injustices like the one perpetuated on poor Mr. Duplessis. This is how democracy works after all, or how it used to work, before everyone in public life began behaving like children.
Richard Cohen. Can't anybody play this game? The Advocate (Baton Rouge), February 17, 2017, p. 5B.
David J. Mitchell. Man gets 10 years in burglary of church. The Advocate (Baton Rouge), February 17, 2016.
Kathy Schiffer, Pope Francis Opposes Capital Punishment; Calls Life Sentences for Violent Criminals "A Hidden Death Penalty." Seasons of Grace blog site, October 23, 2014.